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Mediterranean migrant crisis: Grand Master calls for immediate action

Rome, 22 April 2015

Lampedusa: Order of Malta medical teams prepare to board a migrant boat

Lampedusa: Order of Malta medical teams prepare to board a migrant boat

Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing, in acknowledging the work of the Order of Malta’s Italian Emergency Corps (CISOM) so deeply involved in the current migrant crisis off the coast of southern Italy, declared: ‘This shocking loss of life and this callous smuggling must stop. It behoves all civilised nations of every belief to set in place appropriate measures to help the desperate but also to exhort these criminals to cease their dreadful activities.

‘The Order of Malta has been working since 2008 with the Italian Coastguard, Guardia di Finanza and the Italian navy, providing medical assistance to the thousands of boat people arriving on these shores. Neither the Coastguard nor the Order of Malta were prepared for the torrents of immigrants we are seeing in these desperate weeks.’ 

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.